Soldiers with the 2nd Engineer Battalion, parents and staff members came out to welcome students back to school Aug. 11 during a flag raising ceremony in front of White Sands School.
Soldiers from the 2nd Engineer Battalion lined up in formation in front of the school and the students lined up in front of them for a short ceremony before officially beginning class.
The American and New Mexico flags were raised by Pfc. Alicia Hull, her daughters Emili Geralds, 9, and Isys Hull, 6, Sgt. J.R. Pardo and his daughter Mayulanee Pardo, 8. The young girls also led the Pledge of Allegiance during the ceremony. This is the second year the Soldiers have participated in the first day of school ceremony. A partnership in education was created between the Soldiers and the school in an effort to create closer bonds within the community. The mission of the partnership is for Soldiers to nurture children’s developmental growth by contributing their services and resources.
“We look forward to working together to help support our children. I’d like to thank the teachers who every day work to improve our children,” said 573rd Clearance Co. Commander Capt. Erik Carroll, during the ceremony.
WSMR Commander Brig. Gen. Timothy R. Coffin also took part in the ceremony and welcomed the students to their new school year. He told the students to prepare to be taken to places in their mind that they have never been before, to include the bottom of the ocean, outer space, and anywhere their books may take them.
“I look forward to seeing the great men and women you will develop into,” Coffin said.
Soldiers from the battalion have been serving in different capacities for the past two years. Last year they served as crossing guards, provided water during a Back to School events and provided their assistance in several events throughout the year.
“I think it plays an important part so Soldiers (who are also parents) can have an active role on what the kids are doing on a daily basis,” said Dolores Lopez, acting School Liaison Officer. “I think there’s a sense of pride (the students get) especially when it’s a Soldier they know.”
Last year on the day of the battalion’s Burning of the Colors Ceremony, Soldiers escorted veterans from the battalion’s original burning of the colors, into classrooms so that the veterans could recount their unique stories for the students. The next event the Soldiers will be a part of will be a proper American flag disposal ceremony for the school.
“Because of your partnership we’re as different a school as any other school,” Bulger said.
A First Day of School Holiday was held Aug. 5 to help prepare students for their first day of school and to help parents sign their students up for extracurricular activities. Kindergarten students had a separate orientation on Monday and began school on Tuesday.
“Every one of us wants to see you do a great job,” Bulger said. “Teachers you are going to be laying a foundation for the rest of the school year today. Let’s just have a great school year.”